As a little girl I clearly remember watching my dad polish his work shoes. With a little tin of polish and a soft cotton rag he’d shine those shoes to look like new. When the soles began peeling back he’d drive to the local shoe repair shop to have them replaced and he continued to wear those shoes for years.
I will concede that for many of us the workplace has become much more casual and it may be true that shoe polishing is simply no longer necessary, but I often wonder if my generation cares less about quality goods than my parent’s. You can buy shoes so cheaply these days that no one thinks much about throwing out a worn out pair in favor of brand new ones.
When I got my first serious internship in college my grandmother took me out to Nordstrom’s and bought me two pairs of high quality pants. I had them hemmed by a tailor and wore them for years. In fact, I’m certain if those pants still fit, I would still be wearing them today.
I remember my mom wearing the same dresses year after year. If they were torn or in need of a new hem, she’d either fix them herself, or take them to the local tailor, but as I search through my closets and dresser I find very few articles of clothing that I would consider taking to a tailor. Many of the clothes I own are poorly made and not worth fixing.
My grandmother, who is 85 years old, believes in buying a few, solid, high quality items in favor of a hundred poorly made ones. She says a quality garment will last for years and years and she has the clothes in her closet to prove it. These days I find myself shopping less and less and buying very little, but the next time I purchase an item I may have to take quality into consideration. Not only will quality goods last much longer but they’ll also leave a smaller imprint on the earth. After all, the more you own and maintain items over longer periods of time, the fewer items can end up in the landfill.